Innovative and sustainable growth concepts required for the future of Ceylon Tea
Sustainable Tea Tourism to fuel global demand for exports and tourism sector
Looks to drive low-impact, high-value tourism benefiting estate communities
Colombo, Sri Lanka – June, 2023 – Hayleys Plantations, a member of Sri Lanka’s largest and most
diversified conglomerate the Hayleys Group, has embarked on an exciting partnership with “The Pekoe
Trail,” a visionary sustainable initiative aimed at revitalising the country’s tourism sector.
Comprising three major Regional Plantation Companies (RPCs), namely Kelani Valley Plantations PLC
(KVPL), Talawakelle Tea Estates PLC (TTEL), and Horana Plantations PLC (HPL), Hayleys Plantations
represents 4.6% of Sri Lanka’s total tea production. The Pekoe Trail cuts across 6 of their 44 prime tea
estates, situated within scenic high and mid grown tea trails, providing the perfect platform to promote
Ceylon Tea to a global audience.
Hayleys Plantations Managing Director Dr. Roshan Rajadurai commenting on the initiative said: “Our
shared objective is to rebuild our nation, while creating sustainable value for all. We firmly believe that
the future of Ceylon Tea lies in innovative yet sustainable growth concepts that prioritise environmental
conservation and the well-being of all stakeholders. Through this latest foray into sustainable tourism,
Hayleys Plantation is resolute in upholding this philosophy, creating a unique cultural experience that
fosters shared benefits for all involved.”
Sri Lanka has a renowned reputation for its exquisite teas, each possessing an unmatched, unique flavor
profile. When coupled with captivating tourist destinations steeped in rich history, this creates the
perfect opportunity to provide a sustainable and innovative experience through a tea tourism strategy.
The sustainability-focused design of The Pekoe Trail also perfectly aligns with Hayleys Plantations’
philosophy of ‘slow tourism,’ which involves leisurely travel to immerse oneself in culture and
sustainability. Spanning 300 kilometers across 22 sections, this remarkable trail enables travelers to
explore the tea country on foot, minimising the carbon footprint per visitor.
The captivating tour allows visitors to witness the artisanal process from leaf to cup, including tea leaf
picking with harvesters, a visit to the factory led by an experienced tea planter, and a unique tea tasting
experience. Tea Centers are being established at key locations, offering enthusiasts and weary trekkers a
chance to savour the finest cups of fresh single estate teas. The experience caters to diverse segments,
offering tourists a range of accommodation options from luxurious plantation bungalows to cosy
cabanas, strategically located near The Pekoe Trail’s historic and scenic sites.
“By diverting tourists and economic value creation into lesser-explored regions, The Pekoe Trail creates
opportunities for interior estate communities to flourish and benefit from the tourism-related prospects
that will emerge along these historic tea trails,” Rajadurai said.
This approach aims to foster appreciation and drive global demand for the distinctive national ‘Ceylon
Tea’ brand and exceptional single estate teas, serving as an opportunity for the world to witness the
ethical and sustainable practices on-ground.
“This latest partnership between The Pekoe Trail and Hayleys Plantations will not only catalyse low
high-value tourism within the tourism sector, but will also provide an opportunity to support the
sustainable development of Sri Lanka’s 150-year-old plantation industry,” said Shehan Ramanayake, the
Project Director of the Tourism Resilience Project, which is developing The Pekoe Trail with funding from
the European Union (EU) and additional support from The United States Agency for International
Continuously demonstrating excellence in ethical management in every aspect of its business,
people, and environmental stewardship, Hayleys Plantations is committed to expanding its circular
economy model for the further development of estate communities.
Comprising of the three top-rated Regional Plantation Companies, Kelani Valley
Plantations PLC (KVPL), Talawakelle Tea Estates PLC (TTEL) and Horana Plantations PLC
(HPL), the Hayleys Plantations sector owns 60 tea and rubber estates covering
approximately 26,137 hectares of land spanning three distinctive agro-climatic regions.
Hayleys Plantations is the first in the industry to be a signatory to the UNGC 10
principles in Human Rights, Labour standards, Environment and Anti-corruption, and to
pledge to the UN CEO Water Mandate. The RPCs are also among the Top 3 Awarded
Companies by CA Sri Lanka for transparency, governance, accountability and
sustainability, while also being a part of the Task Force on Climate-related Financial
Disclosures (TCFD). Notably, the Sector has also committed to the Science Based
Target initiative (SBTi).
(Left to right)
Signature Experience Focus – Tourism Manager, Vishadini Fernando; Tourism Resilience Project – Project
Director, Shehan Ramanayake; IESC/YouLead – Acting Project Director, Chrishan Pereira; Hayleys
Plantation Sector – Managing Director, Dr. Roshan Rajadurai; Kelani Valley Plantations – CEO, Anura
Weerakoon; Talawakelle Tea Estates – CEO, Senaka Alawattegama; Horana Plantations – CEO, Johann
Rodrigo; Kelani Valley Plantations AGM – Corporate Affairs, Kenneth Alles; Horana Plantations Manager –
Accounts & Business Analyst, Chamika Jeewantha; Talawakelle Tea Estates DGM – Sustainability and
QSD, Krishna Chathuranga